So I suppose I should explain why the title is no longer in the Post-A-Day format. I hate how it’s getting horribly inconsistent, especially as my schedule is slowly filling up more and more. I’ve been trying to make time for more writing, but for some reason it keeps slipping my mind to put it up. I know, I did say that I wanted to do this much longer, and I still do, but my schedule doesn’t really allow it anymore. Hopefully I can continue it when I get the time. I will still be updating with different parts of Unmortal and Trapped, but not every day like I did before.
Anyway, I wrote this short story called The Traveling Hotel based on one I read years and years ago. When I was younger, I was constantly trying to find writing contests where I could read the winners’ entries. I found one that really intrigued me. I wanted to put it up here because recently I remembered it, but I couldn’t remember where I found it, so I wrote my own version based on what I could recall. Therefore, the idea isn’t actually mine, just the writing – the minor details, like the names, description, and setting, but not the events. Enjoy!
“Oh, man, I don’t think this is a good idea,” Jerry panted as he shoved the gun into the waistband of his pants. “We’re gonna get in some serious trouble for this.”
“Too late now,” Jaz grunted. “Load those bags into the trunk and let’s go before the cops get here.”
Jerry heaved the large brown sacks into the open trunk of the old car, then closed it gently so the rusty top wouldn’t fall off its hinges. He climbed into the passenger seat next to Jaz, who hurriedly pulled away from the curb.
Jaz rolled up the windows as the faint wail of a police siren floated in. “Drat.”
Jerry glanced uneasily at the rearview mirror to his right, watching the bank disappear the further they drove. “New York has some pretty large crowds, even at night. We can lose ’em.”
Jaz suddenly jerked the wheel, and Jerry let out a yell as the tires screeched to the side, nearly pitching him into the back. “What’s wrong with you?!” he yelped at Jaz, who struggled to control the car.
“Did you want us to crash into the car in front of us and get caught?” she hissed back as she veered into a dark alleyway only just wide enough for the car to squeeze through; Jerry winced as he heard the harsh scraping of the rusty rearview mirror backs against the brick walls.
Jaz banged against the dashboard. “Drat, this cold’s killing the engine. We’ll have to get out and hide somewhere.”
“What about the money?”
“Forget the money!” Jaz snapped. “Weren’t you just so worried about getting caught? I’d rather lose the money than go to jail.”
“Fine.” Jerry clambered out of the car, barely managing to keep the car door from slamming against the wall. “Where’re we goin’?”
“If I’m correct,” Jaz mused, glancing around the corner, “there should be a hotel somewhere around here where we could stay the night.”
“Yeah, there.” Jerry pointed across the street to a neon purple sign that read The Traveling Hotel.
“Sure, why not?” Jaz took another quick look around before darting across the street. Jerry pulled off his black ski mask and followed her to the door.
Jaz pushed the remarkably large door open, and the two were greeted with instant warmth that they relished after the frigid winter air. They stood there for a moment, wavering between stepping inside and going back for the money, because they couldn’t hear the police anywhere near.
“Shut the door, you dimwits,” a guy behind the counter grumped. “You’re letting all the cold air in.”
That did it. The two stepped fully inside and Jaz let the door close. A tiny bell chimed above their heads, and Jaz stepped forward to the counter. She was able to get a better look at the receptionist, whose eyes were such an unnatural shade that Jaz couldn’t tell what color it was. He wore a green shirt with the words Hothead in town, which Jaz wasn’t sure was coincidence or purposeful, considering his red-as-red-can-be hair. The flickering candlelight made it look like his head was on fire.
“Cool costume,” Jaz remarked. “The whole Hothead thing looks really cool. No pun intended.”
The guy gave her a weird look. “It’s not a costume.”
Jerry observed the low-burning candles and corner-cobwebs. “You ever heard of the lightbulb?” he snickered before Jaz could respond to the receptionist’s reply. “Or cleaning? This place sure could use both-” His sentence ended with a muffled “Ow!” as Jaz elbowed him in the side.
The receptionist regarded them cooly. “Are you staying or not? If you’re not, get out. If you are, hurry up and book a room or something, because sooner or later I’ll have to start charging you for standing in the lobby so long.”
Jaz ignored his attitude and leaned over the dusty counter. “How much would it cost to book a room for the night?” she asked, her tone neutral.
“Oh, I don’t think you’ll be staying just one night.” A large grin spread over the receptionist’s pale face. In the flickering candlelight, with his hair the way it was, he seemed creepier than ever. “No one ever stays just one night.”
“Wh-what d’ya mean?” Jerry stammered, backing up to the door.
“What are you talking about?” Jaz demanded.
He only shrugged, his creepy stare gone. “Are you booking a room or not?”
“Not,” Jaz said firmly. “Come on, Jerry, we can find a less creepy hotel.” She turned around to Jerry, who had already thrown open the door and stepped outside.
“What-” she whispered as she came to the door.
They were no longer on the snowy streets of New York City, but instead in a field of colorful flowers that stretched as far as her eye could see. The colors had as unnatural shades as the receptionist’s eyes did, and Jaz found herself unable to look at the flowers for too long. It was bright and warm, nothing like the frigid cold air of the city.
Jerry dropped to his knees among the flowers. “Oh, my God,” he whispered, horrified.
Jaz turned around to face the receptionist. “Where are we? What’s going on? Bring us back to New York!”
He shrugged, examining his fingers. “Oh, I suppose we’ll come back to that planet in a couple centuries.”
“We’re not on Earth?!”
He shrugged again, but Jaz could detect a hint of amusement in his voice. “What can I say? The Traveling Hotel never visits the same place twice.”